Are you following Jesus or having Jesus follow You?


It’s a simple question.  Either you are [A] leaving stuff of your behind to follow Jesus like the people in the Bible, or [B} you are leaving Jesus stuff behind to have Jesus follow you.  “B” has become a really popular choice in my faith circles… that makes me feel better because I spent (spend?) a lot of time doing that too.  It’s easy really: you go about your plans and your dreams and your life, seeking to raise your status your profile your accomplishments and desires AND you do this while praying deeply and “seeking” Jesus, studying Scripture and so forth…  It’s like being in a two person boat and saying, “Jesus you paddle for me and I’ll steer.”  “Lord, I can’t do this without you, I need you in my life…if I’m ever to get that awesome Brownstone condo in Park Slope.” Continue reading

Why I debate with people about God (and why I sometimes shouldn’t)


I absolutely 100% believe that if someone honestly wants to know God, or wants to know whether God exists, or anything along those lines…that He gives us enough information to know for sure, and actually guides us through the process of finding out the truth.  So when Christians or non-Christians bring up questions about God that I’m familiar with, I just dive in…  The truth is out there, and it’s often closer than you think.  You know the game 5-degrees to Kevin Bacon?  I think it’s really only one or two steps, for even the most distant person to connect to God… just one or two things that need to be seen or understood or to learn.  “Well,smarty pants, if it’s so simple, then why doesn’t everyone believe in God?” Continue reading

Most things are about this…


If life is like a journey, then what it is a journey towards?  For many New Yorkers it’s a journey towards greater wealth, greater opportunities (which often means more opportunities to make and spend money), greater satisfaction, greater personal power or success.  But for Jesus-people who’ve opted out of these things, they’re on a different track: if life’s a journey, it’s a journey toward Sanctification.  The reason I point this out is, for people who’s life is a journey toward wealth or power, they think getting more of these things means happiness…  But Jesus-people believe that the happiness that comes from more wealth and power is fleeting – it wears off as soon as you imagine it’s possible to get more…  Instead they believe that happiness comes from greater sanctification.  Being more like Jesus will make their relationships better.  Being more like Jesus will make their work better.  Being more like Jesus will make everything better… So HOW do we get this? Continue reading

More than just code-shifting…


Sorry for the lack of posts lately!  I’m grateful that through the magic of the inter-webs we have a voice that reaches beyond our little church here in NY.    And I’m humbled that these silly posts can be enlightening and encouraging to anyone.  God gives each of us special perspectives of His Grace and His work, so we all benefit when we learn from one another’s insights…

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The evolutionary origins of morality…


A lot of atheists seem to feel like children who’ve been forced by parents to go to church and believe in God.  Like they’ve had religion shoved down their throats, and now they put a lot of energy into fighting back.  As a result, every day there’s another article or book trying to disprove God by arguing there are naturalistic reasons for things like morality.  “You don’t need a ‘god’ to tell you right from wrong, it’s part of how creatures are naturally wired” they say.  “Starting from the right assumptions, you can find a purely evolutionary basis for what we think of as ‘right and wrong.'”  And what you don’t expect me to say right now is: they are absolutely right!  If they’re wrong about something, they’re wrong about what it is they think Christians believe…

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Taking care…


I remember a counseling professor, back in my grad school days, making the point that we are physical (as well as spiritual) beings… “So if you have a fever of 104, how’s your spiritual life?”  Our bodies and our minds are connected.  We’re not platonic ideals, we’re a complex mish mash of id and ego, temporal lobe and prefrontal cortex hopped up on hormones that are affected by what we eat, what we drink, when we sleep…  So just the way there’s no way to have a healthy spiritual life (or a life of the mind) when you’re hopped up on cocaine, there’s actually no way to have a healthy spiritual life without taking care of how you eat, sleep, and exercise.  This is especially true if you’re planning to do anything difficult in life… Continue reading

Why your Spiritual Gifts aren’t making a difference…


If you’re a believer and you’ve been reading up on the Spiritual Gifts posts, and you’ve even started to identify gifts – you’re ahead of the curve!  So you start using your gifts, gifts of teaching, worship, counseling, or something else…in full faith that God is going to do great things, but everything you do seems to fizzle out.  Now be honest with yourself here.  God doesn’t send the Holy Spirit so that you can get “kinda’ neat” gifts that fizzle out in the real world.  The whole idea was that, in some small but powerful ways, you will start to change the world with your God-powered gifts…  So what happened?  Why isn’t it working?  Why can’t I knock this ball out of the park?  Maybe you have on one or two occasions, but now it’s not working and you’re wondering why… Here’s why: Continue reading

Emotional blackmail


“If you break up with me I’m going to die!” is a clear example of emotional blackmail.  The idea is: I’m going to FORCE you to do something you wouldn’t otherwise do …by inflicting guilt, or putting you in a situation where you look like the bad person.  It’s the jilted boyfriend or girlfriend who says to someone who wants to break up, “how can you do this to me?  After all the time we’ve been together?” In other words, you’d be a horrible person to do this after leading me on.  It’s the parent that says, “I will never be happy again unless you do this…”  It’s the same with the child who holds his breath or refuses to eat unless he gets his way.  I’m pretty sure everyone has experienced this at some point, and anyone who’s ever loved anything has probably dabbled in trying to control others this way…  Anyway, the reason I bring this up is because people sometimes think this is what God is trying to do: “look I DIED for you, and this is how you treat me?  How can I ever be happy when YOU do sinful stuff like that?”  Some people who grew up in churches even “like” that feeling; someone once told me, “a good sermon is supposed to stab you with that pang of guilt.”  But this is NOT what God does, and here’s why… Continue reading

You can live (pretty well) even without God…sorta


I think you can live pretty well without believing in God.  I said yesterday during the Q&A: …that although a big part of a believer’s life is learning to rely on God, and lean on Him for things like healing, wisdom, guidance, gifts, help… many of you are smart enough and capable enough to live on your own apart from Him.  Sometimes Christians say, “I don’t know how I could get by without God!”  And non-believing friends think: that’s why you need God, “because you’re psychologically weak and the idea of God is your coping mechanism…”  But that’s DEEPLY mistaken.

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